Streams

Asking and Telling

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Retired United States Navy Rear Admiral and current U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA 7th ) talks about the latest in Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

Guests:

Congressman Joe Sestak
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Comments [25]

Danny Seaman from NYC

Ashau Valley 1968, We make an Air Assault. I'm 19. Sgt. Willi is my NCO. Three weeks living in a hole. All we did was work. Exhausting. The enemy was constantly probing our lines. Sgt. Willi is constantly probing my life. Do you have a girlfriend ? What is her name ? Fair questions among all soldiers. When I asked him the same questions he was evasive. I'm puzzled when he asked me a question, "Why do you like girls ?". I respect him but my guard is up. Later, he catches some shrapnel. As we gather up his belongs, we go through his mail. We find romanatic letters between Sgt Willi and Staff Sgt Johnson. Both are sent away.
I'm against repealing DADT because young men at 19 do not have there sexual idenity truly fixed. At that time, I had little hetero sexual expirience. The probing by Sgt. Willi and the outright gay aggressiveness of Sgt. Johnson is something young soldiers should not have to endure.
The idea of the none aggressive gay is far from true.
Brian you asked a great question of Cong Sestak about the differences between the branches of the service. Combat soldiers do not need to be involve in current social issues. Perhaps Cong. Sestak sailors who slept in racks and were fed real chow might adapt to serving with gays. Soldiers serving in present combat have enough on their plate. DADT is a bad issue to push while in the midst of a conflict. Kindly show some respect to the soldiers who are fighting in very difficult circumstances.Forget about repealing DADT

Sincerely,
Danny

Feb. 03 2010 06:51 PM
Sappho

If the military cannot handle the the truth behind some of their soldiers then that military is probably not fit to handle many truths - important truths like who is going to find the extreme terrorist. We are supposed to be fighting modern wars; then we should have a modern military.

Today's military should be more worried about internal terrorism. Lesbian and gay soldiers are probably more disciplined than straight solidiers because we've been through war before, this emotional war of having to come out. And once we come out, we just get to work; we do sit ups, run and hold guns like everyone else; we get up at 4 am, we follow rules and orders and we get the job done. We learn languages like Arabic that may need to be learned. Most lesbians that I know have been wearing combat boots years before they ever joined the military; so we are just wondering why these old school McCarthy-like people are making an issue out of what is only natural to us.

If a gay male soldier comes out it will not turn his uniform pink. If a lesbian comes out it will not make her boots fiercer. The military should have mature soldiers who "get over" sexual thinking in the 3rd grade, many years before boot camp.

Feb. 03 2010 06:38 PM
Joseph Stabilito from NYC

Opponents of abolishing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy often site integrity and morale as the primary reasons for NOT making a change. That's curious to me...so a relationship that's based on a lie is considered to be of good integrity and good morale standing?

Feb. 03 2010 11:45 AM
Sue from Stamford CT

My understanding (from collegues/friends who have served in the millitary) is that as a soldier one is expected to put aside any political or religious issues and follow orders from their boss (President Obama). I respect the importance of this as it has been explained to me.

It seems in this setting it would be much easier, faster and more natural for these young people to accept each other (including their openly gay peers) as equals if directly asked to do so by their commanders.

Some soldiers come from a "conservative" background. They are asked to adjust to a lot of new things and I believe they can handle one more thing. (From what I hear on radio DADT seems like something of a technicality anyway). Especially if it means not turning away any citizens who (like themselves) have the guts and honor to serve this country.

In any case I am deeply indepted to all our service men and women.

Feb. 03 2010 11:06 AM
john from brooklyn

Since World War II United States congress abdicated it's declaration of war powers to the White House. How is it that the president cannot circumvent the don't ask law because of the overgrown war powers of president. How does Title 10 of US Code (stop loss) not cover this and allow the president to ignor the don't as...k law?

Title 10 s.12305:
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law,
during any period members of a reserve component are serving on active
duty pursuant to an order to active duty under authority of section 12301,
12302, or
12304
of this title, the President may suspend any provision of law relating
to promotion, retirement, or separation applicable to any member of the
armed forces who the President determines is essential to the national
security of the United States"

Feb. 03 2010 11:02 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

TO EVERYONE: See post #15 Thanks.

Feb. 03 2010 10:55 AM
Ashton from Chelsea, Manhattan

To: The Truth!! From BKLYN (comment #7): I know that you are a regular listener to NPR and a regular contributor to the Comment column. But, you REALLY don't see that the legal DEPRIVATION of any group -- whether it is because of race, creed, color, sex or sexual orientation -- of its civil rights is the common link that's behind the comparison of civil rights of homosexuals to the civil rights of black Americans?

Feb. 03 2010 10:42 AM
John-Paul G from Elizabeth, NJ

Damnit, Brian! Don't give me driveway moments when I'm late for work. Great segment.

Feb. 03 2010 10:36 AM
ann

the truth? he compared how gays are being treated in the military to when 'black' soldiers were initially in the military or when women were initially in the military. "The Black Struggle" is not really what he was referring to so much as the discrimination and civil rights that those with darker skin faced.

Feb. 03 2010 10:33 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Well, the The Truth!!, I am a black gay person and as a black gay person I see the parallels. I also see the irony when we have a mixed race president that preaches Jim Crow policies.
But back to DADT. I’m not sure how young or old you are, but look back at the history of integration during the Truman era and see what arguments we made against allowing “them” to serve with decent folk. Look at the resistance to allowing women to serve their country (besides, if women didn’t serve, servicemen would only have the brown people they invade to sexually harass and rape).
Which comes to the opposition to repealing DADT. Since there are servicemen that look at military service not only as a way to serve the country they love but also as a way to thump their chest and prove just how red-blooded they are, I suspect the concern is that service men are afraid other servicemen will treat them they same way they treat servicewomen.

Feb. 03 2010 10:31 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Let 'em serve who cares, let'em tell who cares, let 'em ask who cares. I have no intention of enlisting so if they wanna go....let 'em.

Feb. 03 2010 10:30 AM
Ashton from Chelsea, Manhattan

I only caught the very last part of this segment. But, did I hear the Senator Sestak say that the DADT policy was responsible for the reprehesible act I heard him describe in Bahrain (the dragging of a military person through dog feces and other atrocities because the perpetrators believed he was gay)? The only thing responsible for such an awful act would be the lack of moral fiber in any bunch of bullies and hoodlums who would do such a thing!

DADT is a ridiculous policy for which I can find no intelligent defense!

Feb. 03 2010 10:30 AM
hjs from 11211

truth
human rights for everyone!

Feb. 03 2010 10:28 AM
Peaches in NYC

On multiple occasions John McCain has said the overriding factor in making a decision would be what the military leaders have to say about this issue. Yesterday, he again showed his hypocrisy by reaffirming his opposition to changing the DADT.

Feb. 03 2010 10:26 AM
harry from New York

While I listen to the arguments against gays serving in the military like showers and bathrooms I can't help but laugh. Instead of fantasizing about these scenarios why don't these so-called leaders just look at Israel, Britain and Australia where gays are allowed to serve and serve proudly.

Feb. 03 2010 10:26 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

bravo?

Feb. 03 2010 10:25 AM
Janny from jersey city

Thanks for replaying Cong. Hunter's comments on ATC about 'transgenders and hermaphrodites' - a stark, ignorant contrast to Cong. Sestak's wise, pragmatic and principled stance on DADT.

Feb. 03 2010 10:24 AM
hjs from 11211

the opponents claim that a member of the military can't follow orders (ie get along with their comrades) but I think the real fear is that with all those lonely boys so far away from home the barracks will turn into the biggest orgy ever!

Feb. 03 2010 10:24 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Ok so how did I know this was going to eventually get compared to race? Don't do it, this is NOT a racial issue. The Black struggle in general have nothing to do with this gay issue unless you are a Black gay person.

Feb. 03 2010 10:23 AM
ann

Bravo Congressman!! BRAVO!

Feb. 03 2010 10:22 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

What does it mean #1?
It means a soldier won’t have to lie and say they are “single” when in fact they are not.
It means a soldier will be able to list as next of kin the person they live with when not deployed.
It means a soldier will be able to have photographs of all of their loved ones in their wallet or with their personal effects.
It means a soldier will be able to use non-neuter pronouns and not be terrified they’ll slip up and use “he” or “she” when “they” would have been safe.
It means a soldiers personal life, in line with military policy of conduct, will not threaten that soldiers professional life.

Feb. 03 2010 10:20 AM
Anthony Lang from NY

The DADT rule seems to be a good way for people in active duty to get out of active duty by just telling.

Feb. 03 2010 10:15 AM
hjs from 11211

maybe the pres could first order a stop to the witch hunts, after all there are rules like, officers can't commit adultery, that go unprosecuted.

Feb. 03 2010 10:15 AM
JohnG from Manhattan

This US Navy veteran completely supports the repeal of this nonsense policy.

Feb. 03 2010 10:14 AM
Anthony Lang from NY

In terms of the military what does it mean to be "openly gay"?

Feb. 03 2010 10:13 AM

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